/ Motoring

Major car makers respond to our Fuel Claims campaign

Car and magnifying glass

Alongside more than 55,000 supporters, we’ve been putting pressure on the car industry to tell us whether they manipulate fuel tests. 17 car makers have responded…

In the aftermath of the VW emissions scandal, we asked all the major car brands whether their vehicle testing methods were misleading consumers. That deadline has passed, and of the 17 who have responded, 16 have said they don’t manipulate emissions and fuel economy tests.

You can read all the car maker responses here, but if you want the gist of it, Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Nissan, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Volvo, Vauxhall, Honda, BMW, Ford, Toyota, Suzuki, Daimler (Mercedez-Benz) and Mitsubishi have all explicitly denied manipulating tests. Fiat Chrysler has responded but hasn’t confirmed or denied manipulating tests. And we’re still waiting on Subaru.

Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat owners

If you own one of the affected Volkwagen, Audi, Skoda or Seat brand cars (there are 1,189,906 in the UK), I have a few updates for you.

The German government gave VW a deadline of tonight to submit a plan on how it’ll ensure affected cars are compliant with the law. And today VW said that a recall should start from January 2016.

The Government has confirmed that affected motorists will not have to pay more car tax even though they may be producing more pollution. And if car owners don’t get their vehicles fixed it won’t be illegal and you won’t be fined but, according to the Department for Transport, ‘it is in their best interest’.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has also said the Government is ‘taking robust action’:

‘The Vehicle Certification Agency, the UK regulator, is working with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that this issue is not industry wide. As part of this work they will re-run laboratory tests where necessary and compare them against real-world driving emissions.’

We now want the Government to immediately publish a timetable for a genuinely independent investigation and ensure anyone who’s affected can get easy access to redress.

Fuel tests you can trust

There are still issues around the effectiveness of testing.

Currently cars are tested using the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which was first introduced in the 1970s. The test lacks real-world driving scenarios and there are numerous loopholes which make the miles per gallon figures unrealstic when you actually get behind the wheel of a car. You can read more about these loopholes here.

The European Commission is planning to implement the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) procedure, where new cars will have to be tested not only in the laboratory but also on the road. The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) will also bring a number of much-needed improvements. That’s why we want the European Commission to announce how it will bring forward these new tests by the end of the year.

When we asked, several car makers also stated their support for the introduction of new tests that reflect real-world driving conditions, including PSA Peugeot Citreon, Renault, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) and BMW.

Do you want to see these new more realistic tests brought forward? And what do you think about the car makers’ responses?


I have just received a letter this morning from Skoda, informing me that my Superb is affected by this scandal. Whilst I love my car that I bought a mere 5 months ago, it’s very well built and comfortable, the fuel efficency is nothing like what is quoted in the brochure. If I go ahead with the modification, at great inconvenience, I will be left with a car that is even more inefficient. Why would I want to do that?? In addition to this, you are not telling me that resale price won’t be affected too?
I firmly believe that I should be given the opportunity to return my car with a full refund as technically, it is not the same car that I was supposedly sold and one that I have now lost quite a bit of money on!!
Lastly, with regards to the letter I have received, it makes me furious to read that “it will be repaired at no cost to me and with a minimum of inconvenience”. And so it shouldn’t !!! I have lost quite enough already and an apology somewhere in the letter would have been a minimum surely!!

Ni Nadine,
I cannot say how much I feel for folks such as yourself.
I have a cousin, one of the nearby type who has a Skoda also effected. I actually know quite a few people including my wife’s workmates who all have had the bad news.
Back to the cousin.
A nice blue all singing all dancing one. I’m too old be be bothered by badges but it has all the toys..
They also have a nice new house just finished about 7 years ago and 3 little girls.
I know the cost of the house and like yourself they needed this like a hole in the head
So at least, dont feel alone.
You may not see loads of company here but not everyone writes, there are still quite a few hits on the topic and everyone like you who says their piece helps someone else.
I would very much doubt if a claim that you were misled would stand up.
I would be very suspicious about Ms Merkel visiting Mr Cameron. She has done a few of those little trips lately around EU.
In Mr Camerons case the UK is not volunteering to take a load of the refugees so why would she be here under that pretence.
I hate to be always pessimistic but I’d say the deals are already done about such little things as these cars not being fit for purpose.
If they had to buy even half of them they would be selling them off for 1/4 book price or less and bottom book which is trade in price is a serious bit below what most folk think their car is worth let alone a 1/4 of that.
That would be considerably less than you gave 5 months ago. No company could tackle that and survive. Some countries couldn’t handle it.
What is more likely to happen is that no one will get anything but a supposed repair to put the car back the way it should have been.
That way the cost will be spread over all VWs customers and VW will loose as little as possible. Would that not be the norm for the great and good.
As to your thoughts on something resembling an apology yet again you are not alone.
Unfortunatley this the side of VW that people either didnt choose to see or simply missed.
In my experience VW Group have been the most unapologetic of all the manufactures for many years.
They just do everything so perfectly there is nothing to apologise for.
They have themselves on such a high pedestal on the back of their own engineering which although no better than many others even the staff are bamboozled and filled with the blurb.
There are customers today and have been for many years who are so full of the great and mighty german engineering nonsense they are still standing firm in the mistaken belief VW have done no wrong or that this is all in some way a storm in a tea cup.
I’m pretty certain I’ll get a rebuff for that comment!!!!
However there are many more who like yourself who are let down and left dejected.
There are also those who genuinely thought they were buying a clean car.
These people have a further burden to carry.
I cannot hope that VW fanatics understand how much this clean thing can mean to so many and those people have lost something money cannot buy.
Fear not for this will pass.
It may cost a bit of money and most of us will get by but we will probably not forget these bunch of swell heads who cannot tell the truth nor even apologise properly when caught out doing so.
So Nadine I hope I speak for most here and offer some sympathy.
The next time someone starts a spiel about the great VW give it too them. It’ll make you feel better and if their that daft they need brought down to earth anyhow

Unfortunately I think everything you say is true…I think I read that only VW customers in the States will be getting any form of compensation. Once again we will be at the mercy of back room deals between government and big business.

For many years I always bought Peugeot as their fuel efficiency does correspond to what it says on the box, BUT their customer service is diabolical hence my switch to Skoda and the myth of honest German engineering and customer care…fell into that one big time!!

I will be changing the car next year due to personal circumstances and I will not be buying anything related to VW…in other words I will be “voting with my feet” to show my displeasure with the brand and the way they think they can treat their customers! Perhaps I won’t be alone?

As you probably know I am not a fan of diesels but I wont tyr to tell anyone what to do although I do get a bit enthusiastic as time about it.

I sympathise with you about customer service but I alas I am no help o that front either as I could not say with any certainty that this one or that will give you service . They are all poor
VW have such a loyal following that VW can do no wrong. This is VWs best marketing tool because people believe friends and some friends drive VWs so we only hear good things about VW
All manufacturers have such fans but VW are the flagship of this type of thing
You got caught out same as everyone else.

I received a letter from Volkswagen this morning. I had not appreciated that VW hold a Royal Warrant at present.

I am informed that a service action will be required to rectify the issue, the repair will be at no cost to me and that VW will do their utmost to minimise the inconvenience to me. There is a page on the website about the issue, which I had already discovered: volkswagen.co.uk/dieselinfo

I would love to know if my car is emitting more nitrogen oxides than other makes and models manufactured at the same time.

As to warrants.
We’ll quiet a few little Royal blessings have had to be withdrawn of late and if your correct(I’m not checking) I would call along with many others on the Houshold to withdraw such as this company no longer deserves compliment.
There is about a snowballs chance in hell that they will tell you the truth about your NOX and unfortunatley to have a test done would be rather expensive as a one off,
At least you can stand your ground and get all the problems sorted at once with a little luck
Cheers Dee

Hi Patrick – I’ve set the letter to Conversation Comments.

Get a handle on this
Leonardo DiCaprio to produce Volkswagen scandal film. What scandal ever made it this quick to being written.

The mention of Leonardo DiCaprio makes me wonder if independent testing would have refuted the claim that Titanic was unsinkable. 🙂

The marketing department almost certainly came up with the term “unsinkable”. An engineer would have more probably described it as “sink resistant”. Real life testing proved the most reliable, just as it does in giving mpg.

Love it. 🙂 Maybe the Titanic was just under-engineered.

It wasn’t under-engineered it was badly steered!!!!.

Isn’t that just the tip of the iceberg?

@patrick, can you confirm whether Which? were correct in saying a urea fluid was injected by the cheat device?

Hi Malcolm,
I think you are still chasing the co2 emissions that Urea create. The cheat device is not really a device as the name device suggests an add on or physical item which it is not. The cheat is a few lines of software to enable the full use or part use of an emissions system
As I have said before I am no chemist but anyhow as I understand it any co2 produced as a result of the use of Urea as a NOX reducer is so small it is most unlikely to move a car from one tax band to another and the switching off of a Urea system does not get any advantage to mpg or bhp or service intervals so its most unlikely the system was Urea however even I cannot confirm what system.
That just goes to show how untruthful VW have and still are. Even at thes stage several weeks in VW have not admitted what they have done.
VW have not admitted what they have done. That is fact
We still dont know what they done. If we were all dumb about fuel systems and VW fanatics no one here could even make an educated guess on the subject. However some us in the know are and not tied by the short and curley’s are willing to explain such systems. They are far from spaceship stuff.
The cars as best we know were of the EGR type NOX reducer type and no one has told me anything to the contrary except for those perhaps being misled by press or online reports that may suppose.
As to Urea and tax bands in the US they have a completely system there so co2 emissions have no effect on road tax as we know it.
As to Which mentioning Urea in their original report. I dont have any answer to whether they were correct or not.
Not all were experts at the beginning of this scandal.
Many of us wouldnt know one emissions type system from the other so when it was announced that VW switched something off which is also not really the correct term for what they done I can only assume that many would jump at the first thing that came to mind.
Many of us knew nothing and were happy like the Gov to let a bunch of lier’s lead us along. Many not all.
Along with being a mechanic I later moved on and along came a load of courses several of which were on marketing.
A few of us took the info probably not in the manner intended. What the course taught us was that if it needs a TV advert or a salesman we dont need it.
Marketing and advertising are selling you things we dont need. There are most likely loads of cheaper and often better alternatives so avoid such goods.
VW will obviously fit in the box I avoid. Sorry VW.
One should never believe the blurb.
So if there is a load of adverts for a particular Pan Loaf dont listen. Near all the Loaves are baked in the one bakery in England. Fact dealt with in a tv doc about the subject only months ago.
The names are just slightly different recipes and often no different. All bread must be fortified with additional goodies as legislated for.
Cars are no different. Most diesel engines are made my less manufactures than one would imagine.
All diesel fuel injections components and systems are made by just a few manufacturers and are not made by car manufacturers.
The advancements in the diesel fuel injection were not made by the car manufacturers but actually by the likes of Magneti Marelli and Bosch.
So really the adverts are leading us to believe something that some of us see as fairy tales and the sooner more of us see the blurb for what it really is the better. Then you wont be paying a premium for a badge. The badge isnt worth 2p its the image that is the valuable bit and the image is no use to you the customer but is of all paramount use and value to the salesman. If the salesman mentions the badge or brand name walk away, your about to pay an awful lot of hard earned money for nothing.
Fiat are not the UKs best selling brand but it might surprise you just how many of your diesels are powered by a Fiat diesel engine. The engine being the prime mover and most engineered part of the car. Everything else are just bolt on’s.
I wandered there again
All tests on all machines are lab tests but they are all done on the regulated same test so one is relevant to the other or should be were it not for the likes of VW.
All our personal domestic white goods (My wife and I’s goods) exceed the rated consumption but A*** is still marginally better than a straight A
One thing we can say for certain is that we all should know a little more about emissions by now otherwise I and a many others have waste hours at this thing that consumes more of the worlds resources than many of us would like to admit.
Are any of you aware that the internet uses a colossal amount of energy worldwide yet we all continue blindly along downloading more and more stuff we dont need.

DeeKay, my concern about the urea bit was this was stated by Which? as the “device”. I am concerned that Which? do publish facts or change them if they prove inaccurate.
Marketing and advertising – we’re in the same club! At least we can use the internet to investigate for ourselves.
Except….. that consumes too much energy you say.
Is there no hope?

I didn’t say it consumes “too much” energy. That is a matter of opinion and choice.
I certainly use it a lot so I must have weighed up the pro’s and con’s in my mind at some point.
It was simply a comment about something that is obvious to me but most folk simply take for-granted. So dont worry about it, its choice.

I dont think Which despite asking the right questions to the right people over and over can get definitive confirmation either way.
They are factual I think? as best they can be.
The early reports were all a bit sketchy.
Then along comes a few mechanics on several forums and consumer rights sites and there is only the obvious just now. We still dont have the facts.
That is one of the reasons I remain critical of VW. Not only will they not offer a proper apology to their customers who bought the cars for often very different reasons but especially to the people who genuinely thought the car was clean. They now see it’s not clean and what’s worse all this rumpus has shown that diesels were not and never will be the VW portrayed idea of clean that these people bought into. So there are those out there who cannot be paid for their trouble.
Now alongside that VW will not state what they done and to what.
All we hear in the US, The UK and EU is that we are not engineers etc.
That is no excuse and is blatantly no use.

Patrick. If your reading this. How would a load of signatures (petition) to Westminster or VW go on requiring VW to supply engineers and facts instead of fiction and whitewash to our Governments. If they get away with what they have been doing which is to be a big powerful company we may never know the whole truth.
They know the truth. They are already working on the solutions so why can we nt know now before the truth turns into a movie apparently.

OT, but Paul’s doing a superb job with the forum software. Not only do the links from Recent Activity seem to be working properly, but today I saw a little link box inviting me to make a comment. Keep up the good work 🙂

@beryl wrote: “My question is, why was this left to a bunch of students in an American university to uncover the truth about what certain car manufacturers are capable of in the name of profit and how can consumers be expected to regain the trust in VW and car manufacturers as a whole? ”

I absolutely agree. There are so many cases where we are expected to trust companies. I would like to see all advertising vetted before release rather than waiting for the complaints to roll in.

Of course it’s not just manufacturers that betray our trust. Does any political party deliver what it promises in its manifesto?

So who vets the adverts? And who vets those who vet those who vet the adverts? The sensible thing is not to believe everything you read, not in adverts (they will never tell you anything bad about a product, which is a starting point), nor everything you read in the press.

You need to do a bit of research and give a bit of thought to whatever you choose to buy or do. Can you imagine what a bureacracy would be needed to vet every advert and test every claim before it could be released. Oh, and would we then take legal action against the advert vetters when they got it wrong and we found a flaw in a product?
This is protectionism gone mad. There is a real world that most people learn to deal with.

You have criticised marketing yourself, Malcolm. Unless we make an effort, the dishonesty and misrepresentation that is commonplace in advertising is hardly likely to improve. It’s not difficult to see that effort should be focused on the worst offenders.

Wavechange, I have not criticised marketing in the sense of branding them liars. No more than I regard the statement “it is the 95% of salesman that get the other 5% a bad name” as other than humorous (to some, particularly engineers). I simply point out that marketing’s job is to present a product in the best light; that does not mean being dishonest or misrepresenting. It means we treat marketing information, and adverts, with circumspect; treat them as what they are – from someone who wants to sell us something – and use common sense to make your own mind up.

I have sometimes criticised Which? for being economical with facts and presenting arguments that lack fairness, balance and objectivity for the sake of manipulating readers, particularly in campaigns, and grabbing headlines. No different to marketing – you need to do your own research to make your decision and not let someone else lead you on. The difference is Which? sets out to be independent and should not indulge in such tactics.

Malcolm – Had emission tests been carried out properly in independent labs we might not be having this Conversation. Blame someone else if you want, but the companies know what the rules are. Please can we keep the Conversation friendly and recognise that different people have different views and priorities. 🙂

@wavechange, why the personal admonishment? How have I upset you? We have differing views I know. I also prefer facts to speculation. But to my knowledge I have expressed my views politely and without admonishing others. Maybe you would like to “clear the air”.

Reading my contributions, maybe you think “you” is personal? Not so, simply saying that someone – we if you like – need to be circumspect.

Back to topic. Is there evidence that emission tests were carried out improperly in labs that were not independent?

Malcolm – You said: “Is there evidence that emission tests were carried out improperly in labs that were not independent?” Is there any reason why there should be such evidence?

wavechange, I a little bewildered. You suggest above that “had tests been carried out properly in independent labs we wouldn’t be having this conversation”. This suggests you believe the tests were not carried out properly in labs that were not independent, and that different results would have been obtained. I simply asked what evidence supported this.

I took exception to your (unwarranted so far) admonishment and you have not replied. We – all who contribute to conversations – inject facts, suppositions, opinions and come from different backgrounds. I would not like to see anyone deterred from contributing , or not presenting an honestly-held view or believed fact, in case they are admonished. Unless they are rude, defamatory or obscene when no doubt the moderators will intervene.

Perhaps we should ask others whether they would like vehicles to be tested in independent labs. It is unlikely that most of us will ever know if testing carried out by or commissioned by manufacturers is satisfactory.

Don’t worry Patrick! I’m sure we’ve moved on. Wavechange and I do have interesting if sometimes polarised discussions. I suspect we both suffer from entrenched views from time to time. No blood was spilt.
OK with you wavechange 🙂 ?

A very fair synopsis, Malcolm. 🙂

Bless! It was just getting interesting.

It has nothing to do with trusting companies. Simple, dont trust any.
It took a bunch of students because more of them believe in conspiracies than adults who have digested too much rubbish.
Not everyone ever believed that diesel was good or that VW were good and great. I didnt believe either, ever.
When will we vote for the politician we like instead of the one that stands more chance of keeping the guy went like out. We are voting to keep people out not for who we ant in and that is exactly where they want us.
I dont have the answers but it helps if you know the problem

Should have said the gut we “dont” like out

Today we read that germany’s KBA (GOV body) has rejected VWs proposals that owners could bring their cars in voluntarily.
Did I just read that right.
VW were offering to let these NOXy things remain on the road at the choice of the owners.
Bear in mind the single biggest stake holder in VW is germany’s president so despite a high vis german having a vested interest in the company germany has actually put her foot down.

Every few days they do something else that clearly shows that they think they are God and can do as they please.
Germany has now, ordered, VW to bring in the 2.4m cars.

Italian police have raided VW and Lamborghini office in an alleged commercial fraud investigation. Is that a sign that Fiat group are clean on this one, this time??
At least it shows Italy is taking an interest on what goes on in their own country

When will the UK dig it’s heels in or will we wait to the world tramples us over.
Yes Ms Merkel, no Ms Merkel, 3 bags full Ms Merkel
For dear sake Mr Cameron germany is taking more interest than the UK is.

Meanwhile back at the ranch VW have announced the new man expected to head VW in the US has just resigned.
They say Winfried Vahland has resigned because of “differing views on the organisation of the new group region”.
Could that be the first cracks appearing???
Is that the first sane person person to appear out of the VW Mafia.
You see this guy would have been within his rights to refuse to take the post. Resigning suggests something more, much more.

VW repeated again that the internal investigation will take some time.
Does that mean the internal investigation has now been extended from the previous silly timescale to 5 years??
Is this not a little like the “lunatics running the asylum”

Earlier this year the Italian consumer association Altroconsumo accused Fiat and VW of making misleading fuel consumption claims and instigated court action. The latest from their website says that it is due to be heard in court in Venice on Nov 4 to assess the eligibility of the class action. It only refers now to VW, so don’t know what has happened about Fiat. It will be interesting to see the outcome.

According to Italian Police this latest action is a commercial fraud investigation, not a consumer rights mpg being lower than published type of thing.
A questionable mpg figure would hardly be judged as fraud.
A emissions cheat such as VWs is fraud.

DeeKay, the initial report suggested that separate lab tests carried out on Fiat and VW cars were 50% different from the published figure (I think that was the gist of it). So yes, that would be fraud – I doubt any test conditions within NEDC would lead to such a big discrepancy. Do you know of anything other than the Altoconsumo and BEUC reports that give more background?

Malcolm – I have been following the Altroconsumo action and noticed that Fiat was no longer being targeted. It makes sense to pick the case you are most likely to win (the discrepancy was greater for VW than Fiat cars) and then the outcome can be used as a precedent. Recent events might not help VW’s defence.

In real-world emission (on-the-road) tests, I strongly suspect that VAG diesel products are no worse than any other vehicle manufacturers’ diesels………………..if so, this whole thing is a bit of a smoke-screen and the only real benefiters will be lawyers!
Those who are really concerned about NOX emissions should investigate what real-word on-the-road contributions cars make COMPARED to that produced by light and heavy commercial vehicles, buses, and taxis.

I’d like to see a full translation of Altroconsumos’ report. My translator only did bits – badly – and despite watching all episodes of Inspector Montelbano (with subtitles) my Italian cannot deal with the rest.

I may therefore have not got the picture. First there are two separate court actions, to determine the merits of a class action, if any. That against VW is in Venice (location of their HQ) and that against Fiat in Turin (their HQ). It may be only the date for the VW action has been set, and that for Fiat will follow.

What I am not clear about is what Altroconsumo are comparing with what. However they give the “official” figures for both cars and then their figures. These are as follows:
Fiat – official vs test 5.2 l/100km vs 6.11 l/100km (= 85%)
VW – 3.8 l/100km vs 5.83 l/100km = (=65%)

One UK site that gives “real life” figures (reported by drivers) for these same cars, compared with the “official figures” shows the Fiat at 49.3 mpg cw official 55.4mpg = 89% and the VW at 57.7mpg cw 72-74 = 78%.

If Altoconsumo have done a full repeat NEDC test that gives such different figures it seems odd the their figures are even worse than are achieved, on average, in real life.?

Perhaps Which? can give us a full translation of the Altroconsumo tests?

I’ve tried to post this link complete but the comment just sits on my screen. No sign of it going for approval.
So, without the http//

might be of interest:
It ends “The technical working group set up by the Commission to adapt the CO2 regulations from NEDC to WLTP is close to agree that for a transition period (Sept 2017 to 2020) the cO2 value and specific emissions will continue to be based on NEDC.”
This report of progress pre-dates the press reporting about tests being delayed until 2020
The same vehicle tested under WLTP and NEDC will produce different CO2 results because the test procedures are different. The current CO2 targets that manufacturers should meet each year, averaged across their whole fleet, are based on NEDC; clearly new targets will need to be established based on WLTP as the report points out.

I expect this comment might be repeated when the original link is verified, but it would be nice to have an indication that that is what is going on. My computer has a temperament of its own so never quite sure whether it is having a hissy fit, or something else is happening.

Documents containing full links do get published but as you say there is no acknowledgement unless you resubmit them, when you will see a warning that you have already posted the comment. Unlike the previous site, the comment does not appear with a ‘Waiting for approval’ note. The biggest problem for me is that there is no opportunity to edit the post during the 15 minute period after posting.

This might be of interest – an EC WLTP status report produced in May 14
It ends”The technical working group set up by the Commission to adapt the CO2 regulations from NEDC to WLTP is close to agree that for a transition period (Sept 2017-2020) the CO2 value and specific emissions will continue to be based on NEDC.”
This report of progress and intent seems to pre-date all the press reporting about tests being delayed until 2020.
The same vehicle tested under WLTP and NEDC will produce different CO2 results, because the test procedure is different. The current CO2 limits that manufacturers must meet each year, averaged across their whole fleet, are based on NEDC; clearly new limits will need to be established based on WLTP as the report points out.

What matters regarding diesel emissions is what happens in real-world on-the-road emissions, NOT the results from the already-identified-unrealistic regulatory test procedures which ALL manufacturers conform to.
Real-world on-the-road NOx emissions from VAG cars are highly unlikely to be any different than any other manufacturers’ diesel cars.
We all have ‘bent the rules’ in some way or another – tax returns, speeding, etc, etc., – so I don’t believe the disclaimers from ‘other’ manufacturers ……………………….. this is a convenient hobby horse for greedy lawyers and others ‘greedys’ wanting to make a fast buck.
What we need is a proper study to determine the actual real-world on-the road contribution from diesel cars COMPARED to light and heavy commercial vehicles, buses, and taxis ………….. VAG products will be found to be little or no different to others!

Couple of things need cleared up for the umpteenth time
VW cheated.
A car fitted a non operational NOX reduction system will put out and did put out more NOX
The reason the system was non operational is because VW made it so by their own admittance.
VW had the chance in 2014 in the US to hold their hands up but what did they do. They had another go at bluffery.
SO for management in 2015 and say they knew nothing is a blatant lie because management knew full well what was going on.
So even when caught they behaved like fraudsters.
VW were a bunch of crooks.
VW had the most reliable brand with of any of this type of NOX reductionwhich is the cheapest type of NOX reduction because the VW system didnt work much and VW used same manufacturers and developement as others and similar to yet more who had endless problems with theirs systems
I am as I said before a time served mechanic with C&G 1&2 and later worked in engineering design.
I have never stopped attending fuel injection courses, the last one about 18 months ago.
Whilst many if not near all vehicles will not meet up to real world tests they have made advancements at every step of the euro emission requirements.
So they are not perfect and I dont think anyone every said they were over the last few weeks especially
VW on the other hand since 2008 at least have not even tried to meet any NOX requirements.
That is the main reason VW have been more reliable and more fuel efficient than any other.
They had an unfair advantage because of a blatant lie and now the lie has turned against them.
As to some people who seem to be firmly of the opinion that is okay and acceptable to break or bend or be caught breaking the rules in some way be it speeding or income tax or whatever.
I would ask that if there are readers who have not been speeding all their lives and have paid all their tax’s etc as requested and have not tried to use bogus expenses to lower their tax’s and dear knows what other little tricks would they please say a few words. Here now
I believe that I cannot be alone???
To promote such behaviour is to say yet again some get off with it because they can and because they think everyone is the same.
Just like VW not everyone is the same
In the last 39 years of driving I have NEVER received a ticket nor have I been in court so I must have been diligent and well meaning.
I have never been late for a tax payment nor have I attempted to avoid paying my dues
I have not tried to avoid anything. Maybe that’s why I am not wealthy.
I always wondered how some people could spend more money on a house than I made in my entire lifetime
Back to VW
I dont want people to think that VW were just the same as all the rest because they were not.
VW has not even made the slightest attempt to say that others were equally as bad because they know that all others were very unlikely to have been.
VW knew were their advantage lay and that it was illegal.
VW were the avoiders, the fraudsters.
There may be those who think that VW were no worse then others but I just like to put my point across also.


You are not alone in wanting to stamp out dishonesty, Dee. The difficulty will be establishing those who are guilty – those directly involved in the cheat and those who were aware of it but took no action.

This is reminiscent of the banking scandals – Libor and FX for example – where a few smart individuals think that they can get an advantage by illicit means. Of course many will get away with it – they are clever and may never be found out. But when they are found out the individuals involved should pay – financially and/or by custody. The only way I see that other individuals will think twice before following a similar path.

Simply making an organisation pay a penalty is an ineffective deterrent, and inappropriate. VW as an organisation will already be paying the price in loss of reputation (short-lived) but mainly financially in the cost of dealing with all the affected vehicles. Do we want to see VW ‘s 592586 employees jobs at risk, of which 592580 may have had no direct involvement in devising the “crime” ?

I suppose every discussion could be cut short by declaring one view is right and those who don’t agree are in denial. It seems a dangerous way to proceed though.
Rarely is one view the overridingly correct one. A conversation is surely about presenting a topic and then airing differing points of view from which those who have open minds can learn perhaps. It is important, I think, to dig out what we think is factual information to put up for discussion, as well as opinion.

As far as honesty goes, I think making unsupported allegations might be seen as dishonest but providing they generate positive responses they do, once again, play their part in developing a conversation – which is what it is, not an inquisition.

“I suppose every discussion could be cut short by declaring one view is right and those who don’t agree are in denial”.

The opposite is true in fact. A good interesting and constructive debate usually includes a number of points of view whether you agree with them or not until a consensus is reached. It’s when a debate ventures toward the inability of participants to accept irrefutable evidence that stands to benefit society as a whole and not that of the individual commenter does it fail to reach its true

Beryl, there are simply different views on what facts matter, what evidence there is and what weight to attach to each. This conversation does contain some irrefutable facts – principally that VW have admitted to cheating in the US, and providing vehicles that require modifying in Europe. I was simply trying to say, hopefully not too bluntly, that I would not like to see a conversation stifled by one view being presented as the only one that matters.

Some people may indeed choose personal benefit over that of society – in private if not always in public. I think we could, for example, benefit society by not driving in city centres – but I do along with many others. But it is an irrefutable fact we will add to air pollution.

I’d be interested to see if we could draw a consensus from this conversation! 🙂

Malcolm, if this conversation helps to make car makers and drivers more aware of the dangers posed to the environment through the outpouring of toxic emissions and the effect this is having on the health of our children and grandchildren, it will have indeed served its purpose.

Beryl, I agree with creating awareness. I doubt this conversation is big enough to have that impact but maybe if Which? put a reasonably complete, fair and balanced report together based on all views expressed then might get somewhere?

Dee and Wavechange, I entirely agree with your sentiments but there is always going to be opposition to a debate especially on such a strong topic as this one is proving to be. It may help to understand why it is so difficult for people such as yourself who have an abomination to dishonesty and fraudulent deceit, to read up the reasons why people
use denial (disambiguation) as a defence mechananism @
Wikipedia.org/wiki/denial. It is very enlightening.

Thanks very much, Beryl. I found this thought provoking and how it relates to my own experience, particularly dealing with cheating in an educational context. It’s interesting to read the very different views posted in the recent Conversations.

Thanks Beryl. Someone just blew wind in my sails.
Yes to Wave, Beryl and Malcolm keep commenting.
I’m sure Which will suffer an occasional defensive outburst. I hope. I am a little too heart felt kind of a person and often it comes out to show itself

Wavechange, I think it helps to understand the differing views posted and why some people find it so difficult to accept evidence even when it is presented.

Apologies for veering off topic.

In the introduction we are told that all but one (presumably the VW Group) does not manipulate fuel economy and emissions tests. Yet we are provided with a link explaining the ‘loopholes’ that are used to do just that.

Unless it is specified that cars can be modified prior to testing (can anyone provide evidence of this?), then I assume it is done to gain an unfair advantage – otherwise known as cheating? I am disappointed that Which? did not ask how the individual manufacturers modify their cars prior to testing.

Which? explains why it does not modify cars prior to testing: which.co.uk/cars/choosing-a-car/how-we-test-cars/how-we-test-mpg/ It’s simple common sense that a school kid could understand.

The tests (apart from VW) follow the NEDC spec. That spec is lax and does not specify tightly enough all the details. The WLTP test is at long last on the horizon to hopefully provide a more realistic and properly-written test procedure. The EC are to blame for allowing this situation to continue for so long.

If you were testing a car, would you modify it or would you test it as supplied?

Good question!

If one were an independent journalist, I guess one would want to make the test as objective as possible, to provide a fair basis of comparison with other test results.

However, if one were a dealer or a manufacturer entering some kind of competitive test, then surely there would be a temptation to engage in pre-test preparations, within the scope of the test rules, to maximise the test score.

Yes Derek I agree.
Perhaps Malcolms idea of Clean(er) Air Zones might actually be the easiest to enforce.
I was thinking today how possible tests should be carried out and Malcolms comment about banking scandals came to mind and after my comment below I think it may be impossible to properly police such fraud.
Wifey and I went a run in camper today and although I have always noticed such things this VW thing has made wifey more aware of some problems.
When there are two people together with the same thought it amazing how many smoky cars there are.
Not so much black smoke of yesteryear although there were 2 cars with obvious EGR problems.
The smoke if it would be correct to call it smoke is more the slightly brown variety that I associate with the product after the DPF. Very visible in low bright sunshine.
I notice it only happens on acceleration after a few idle miles so like the old days of the exhaust etc clearing itself the same thing is happening but the product is nowhere near as noticable. I still dont like the idea of simply moving from one lot of particulates to another finer product.

And if any of the manufacturers do modify their vehicles it makes a mockery of comparative testing.

Hi wave, indeed it could make a mockery of testing
I have a couple of “big stories”
Does anyone know how many words or pages this thing will hold in one go or would it need several seperate posts

Longer comments than yours have appeared in the past. Try it and see.

Here’s a tip to economise on space: Try to avoid starting each sentence on a new line; that way even a very long comment will look more contained within the screen.

The last job I had involved overseeing an official test of machines to a set of standards.
The lab was a well known British name
The product was a British product
Firstly the standards are a B******s from the outset.
Yes they may be well meaning but the fact they are written by an outsider does leave room for interpretation.
The later standards were then modified by someone from within the industry who was still CEO of a production company making similar products and who couldn’t join his two fingers together.
He was well known within the industry but maybe not loved lets say.
He rewrote and modified the standards to the point that they clearly suited his companies product way more than others. I actually thought I was reading the requirements of his own companies machines.
I would hope that standards for cars are a little better
As to real testing.
Well if I could find a word less than amateur without using expletives I would use that word.
I cant go much further without naming brands or type but the whole thing was and still is open to bluffery.
You may say and many have that proper testing has to take place overseen by experienced personnel.
Experienced in what? It might surprise you that the test engineers might never have changed their own oil or fuel filters.
The reason I am writing this is because the test regime needs to have people who are like referees or worse.
I mean strict. I mean suspecting. Like a well oiled 1950s bobby. Nothing escapes their eye.
They need to know the machine from inside out and know where to look for modifications and the symptoms of modifications.
They dont need to know every individual car. Cars are not very different one to the next much as some manufacturers would like us to believe.
What they do need to know is how a car really works from the ground up. How these fuel systems which is the most important part of these diesels are supposed to work and perhaps more importantly their behaviour.
Behaviour can often be a clue to something untoward. Behaviour can get you looking, and looking from here on in is what is needed. The behaviour of the VWs with the defeat device would have been noticable going from test mode to real time mode if driven by someone who what they were looking at and requiring.
Not just a set of standards is what is needed.
Standards are too ridged, too definate, once everything has proved to within standard the product has passed.
The test regimes are often too well defined thus once the test engineer has ticket the boxes the test is over.
it should not be as simple as that. Nor indeed as complicated as some of the things I seen that in reality bore no resemblance to real needs for use and reliability.
There will be those who will say that the only regime is one that is closely and carefully defined but like rules for say race cars the definition has to be near endless.
Now these diesel cars are not race cars and although they are all tins boxes they were not built to a formula in the first place in any way shape or fashion so well defined rules become a problem.
We’ll maybe discuss this more later. Sunday, Suns out, I’m out
See y’al later

I was involved in some part authoring and regular testing, to British Standards originally and then to EuroNorms which largely superceded BSS. They were written by a combination of contributors, including industry, technical staff, civil servants in the technology and coordinated by BSI. On the whole they were not only well written – practical and very specific – but regularly reviewed – often a 5 year automatic review but intermediate amendments as needed. For any one testing products they gave sensible and repeatable results from lab to lab and allowed good comparisons to be made. They did their best to represent real life, but consistency and comparability were also important.

The key to success is this way of dealing with standards. Carefully constructed, tight guidance on applying them, regular updating and using in accreditaed labs subject to independent auditing. It worked. I hope the WLTP and RED will have followed this format and if so should work as well. As long as we recognise that they will always be lab tests under specific conditions that will not necessarily give “real life” result; but get closer. RDE and on-line accumulated mpg reports should fill the gaps

Hi Malcolm,
I thought you were involved in some way with testing!
Yes we need standards but we have a whole new problem in testing/proving so we need a new method of standards and authority.
At this point I feel that test houses may not really have taken the problem on board just yet
It may be that there are some who see the problem but what to do with it?
Its not a matter of sticking a tube up the exhaust an get readings. Forget that.

The standards I operated to had been written, written and re-written just like all standards.
The guy who wrote to suit his companies machine would not have admitted anyone could cheat the system and we just stood and looked at him and wondered that this was the guy who knew everything.

The lab engineers were perfect to the letter, to the last digit actually but we could have ran rings around them and the machines we were testing were little bunny’s beside these diesel cars.
A machine could have died and within a few minutes maybe a few seconds if we were prepared the logger would be seeing signals again.
This was my first experience with a full blown electronic controlled system and boy could I see this is going to change things,
We would say “its a cinch” Thats what computers do if the right driver is at it.

Can I assure people that just because we could, did not mean we did.

The previous VW cheat only recognised lab conditions. A pretty simple cheat really.
Even 7 years ago it would not have been difficult to get a little more inventive
Now 7 years on and the computing power in a car is really quite something.
A car could be made to recognise near anything. A pipe attached to its exhaust. CTs or Shunts fitted. Extra power sources such as a generator.
Dear me some of the things we went near with an oscilloscope would often alter the internal values the second the clamp was put on so there’s not much you can hide from an ECU.

So if the new test regime is going to be more of the same I’m convinced that if the manufacturer want to cheat they will.
The traditional test is fine for a washing machine or a TV but these things need a whole new regime and of what I dont know.
Test lab engineers have to have authority to excess the software although that is a big subject because everything is either connected to or controlled by this ECU and the ECU recognises and alters every time the wipers come to a stop and starts again. The ECU recognises absolutely ever change. There is nothing happens in or around the car that the ECU doesnt see.
The amount of programming to inspect I would expect could well be overwhelming. My son tells me that if the manufacturer wanted to hide something even you had excess finding just the right amount of things that make a cheat may take years.
So although I used to like written standards my last brush with them proved to me that the writing is on the wall unless there is serious change there too.
So I hope I’m not upsetting the status quo but I’m not the problem.

It’s very interesting and informative to read the critiques of standardisation methodologies by who seem to be two highly skilled Engineers. I’m not an engineer, by any stretch of the imagination, but our youngest son is, as are friends, and I’ve noted that the common characteristics among Engineers are a refusal to compromise in terms of quality and assessment and a scathing and clinical perception of how non-Engineers and commercial or political interests always attempt to interfere.

Hi Ian, You said quite a bit with few words. Something I’m afraid I am not good at.
The refusal to compromise is real simple, why compromise. If the thing works, if it does a good job why alter it. That goes for both machine and test system.
However things can and do change
In this commercial world full of sales gumph there is a serious need for enforced quality control that is why approved testing was brought about in the first place and such things a ISO etc which I had a brush with when it arrived and a couple of standards later.
Some of the testing seems to some a bit OTT but a system had to be set out and what seems OTT on one machine will be perfectly in line with assuring quality on another similar machine.
So when a person who is not a test engineer complains that the standard was daft,
It had stuff that had no bearing n the product that may be correct but the person complaining is only dealing with one product.
That person may only deal with a handful of test standards in his lifetime, maybe only one for that matter.
The test lab engineer on the other hand is at this daily and must read endless reports, engineering drawings, stress analysis which I personally dont like and all through this he must be correct.7
On top of that he must be objective and see eye to eye with everyone even the worst most obnoxious p*** ** on the planet. There could be nothing worse than a lab engineer getting his eye wiped. That would not look good for the lab
What I did see was that once a standard is laid out it become ridged and has to be assumed to be correct at least up to it is edited or rewritten.
The test engineer only has to adhere to the standard.
The test engineer has kinda got the option to ignore something if that something is note noted in the standard, especially a test lab funded by the very industry the lab is testing for.
If there is something wrong with the product the fault can often slip through whether othesr agree with me or not I witnessed it. back to the post you answered to.
Test lab Engineers must be from various backgrouds to perform Automotive Emissions testing.
I would nearly go as far as say that instead of being just good engineers they need to be mature specialists that show a great deal of distaste for the industry through the experiences they have had.
Properly qualified mecahnics. Then accompany them with a chemist equally as scathing of the industry and a computer guy, would it be right to say geek. I dont mean that in a bad way but these people are gifted and often very suspicious because they know what can be done and expect for it to have been done.
It requires that and maybe more to police this testing.
The chemist mostly uses a car to get about as does the computer guy.
Mostly they dont say may car feels a little funny or odd or occasionally it does this or that when there is nothing visible wrong with it
But the chemist can see more in the gases than anyone and the gases as a whole need looked at. not just the ones legislated for any others that have crept up in quantity as a result of reducing ones governed by law.
He should have the power to call a delay until the road transport dept is told or whoever has control over such matters by that time.
The Computer guy should quickly get a feel for how these fuel sysems operate and if suspicious which he needs to be might be able to see a software cheat but he probably wouldnt know an oil filter from a pollen filter.
The mechanic usually doesnt know much about chemistry except that by now he may be choking on a lifetime of diesel fumes but he needs to be there because he had an interest in cars to serve his time in the first place.
An ideal candidate will have driven several race type cars and been a problem solver wherever he worked. That background will mean he has “feel” He’s not there to repair the test vehicle. He’s there to “feel” for little things.
Like the other twoo he is there to smell a rat. If soemthing is too good to be true is usually is too good to tbe true. He’s the main man for this one. He knows form a lifetime of working on these items that there is never a quantum leap and if there is we better examine it because he has seen these before and they were not what they seemed.
The operation of an EGR is almost not noticable, a DPF regen is more or less un-noticable.
Most of these thing are not noticeable to the main stream but to someone who “feels” his way around a car these things are are as obvious as the roar of a jumbo jet.
It would be worthwhile really interviewing loads of people of these backgrounds to get the suspicious, the scathing the caring (very important) and last but not least, the able.
A lift engineer may have worked on very safety critical machinery and may be a good engineer but sorry not for this job.
This job needs something not done before because I feel if it had been done rigorously VW would never have gotten away with what they did .
The existing test was an open invitation to cheat by a manufacturer and an invitation to ignorance by the lab who was funded by the industry anyhow.
Anyone any comments??
Emissions testing really needs a policeman type attitude to catch out foul play because oit goes on and will continue to go on and the more it is left unchecked it will get worse.